Create a user-friendly wholesale website

I have been rebuilding my Simply Sarah website and giving it a major overhaul along with an updated 2010 look.   Woo Hoo!

While working on some back end yucky stuff with my web designers, I realized all of the things you’ll need to have in order to create a friendly and easy to use Wholesale section that will make purchasing fast for buyers.  I hadn’t thought about it in a long time so it was a good refresher course for me, and now I can pass my list on to you!

I prefer to have a totally separate wholesale section for my boutiques so buyers ONLY see wholesale prices. This makes their shopping experience easier, and they can do it on their own time — even in their Pj’s!  Of course, if you can’t afford this option yet, you could give buyers a coupon code for the appropriate discount at checkout if it works for your pricing structure.

TIP: When we give any kind of coupon code to our wholesalers, we use the same code for everyone to make it easier for us.  However, you should phrase it in a way that buyers will think it’s unique to them, e.g.:  Please use this unique code we created for you to make your purchase for free shipping (or whatever).

Things to have for a user-friendly wholesale section of your website:

  • Wholesale button on home page
  • Simple form to register for a wholesale username and password (and emailed to you for review)
  • Easy to find login on home page once they have their username and password
  • Wholesale buying section with wholesale prices only
  • Ability to adjust shipping costs for wholesale
  • Ability to capture their emails for special notices

My suggestion to you on your registration form is that you ask for the information I have listed below and make it required in order for a buyer to register.  When you receive a new registration form, you should call the store using the contact information on the form to verify if the buyer is real. If the phone is answered: “Hello XXX store…”, that is a good sign, but if it is a personal cell phone, be sure to ask for the store’s direct number to verify them.  You can decide at that point if you are willing to sell wholesale to someone who might be selling out of the back of their car, but the choice should be yours alone!

  • First and last name
  • Store Name
  • Store address
  • Store Telephone
  • Email address
  • Cell Phone (optional)
  • Resale #

Good luck!

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    Written by Sarah Shaw

    There are 9 comments

  • susan says:

    Hi Sarah,

    We are actually in the middle of redoing our sites so that our wholesale customers can have a smooth transaction. This has been a plan for quite some time, but as they say “first things first.”

    Currently wholesale customers either fax, call or email their orders in. It’s cumbersome, time consuming, errors can be made and frankly, a big waste of everyone’s time.

    What we are shooting for is an online ordering system that not only allows for wholesale customers to order, but special quantity price breaks and shipping codes when they use their own ship method.

    We also used to hand out our price sheet to anyone who called in requesting one. It took us some time, but we finally realized that some people were just window shopping. Currently we make phone contact or pre-register shoppers to qualify the lead and know the level of their commitment.

    We can also use a similar form for the products we drop-ship for our wholesale customers.

    Thanks for your post! Again, as always…love it!

  • Great advice Sarah – as always.

    I am actually in the middle of a website overhaul myself and have been considering a separate wholesale site.

    Thanks for the info!

  • Camille says:

    Hi Sarah,

    Very useful article and very necessary.
    We love to keep our wholesalers & drop shippers happy-
    We try and make it as easy as we can in helping them to
    order our products.
    -We have a separate website with all the info such as complete
    description & product details, photos, etc.
    -We have them sign up to receive automated product updates.
    -We even will at times develop designs that they ask for.
    -We are in the process of adding our products into excel spread
    sheets for them for easier uploads to their websites.

    The competitiion is intense so anything we can do on our part to
    make purchasing a pleasant experience is just wise.

    I really enjoy your website and read everything you do-it has been
    very helpful and I don’t feel so all alone working away designing
    products. Thanks 😉

  • Julie says:

    Do people typically have minimum initial orders to open a wholesale account? For example they must spend $300 to open a wholesale account or is this unusual and hurtful to sales?

  • Lana says:

    Thank you for sharing this information!
    How does one check the resell # to make sure it is legit?

  • Sarah,
    Thank you for this information. There is so much to tackle in starting my business, that its nice to have you shine a spotlight on a very important subject.
    Much appreciated!
    Jeanne Chinn

  • George Farina says:

    You should try Trunkt – http://www.trunkt.com.
    It does all of this for you without the hassle and expense of building it.

  • barb says:

    Great article thanks for the tips. I’m here from the list of 50 best women blogs. I have a blog too about product reviews,giveaways,diabetes and food tips. Lots of giveaways too! I’m now following your blog.

  • thanks for the tips. I’m here from the list of 50 best women blogs. I have a blog too about product reviews,giveaways,diabetes and food tips. Lots of giveaways too! I’m now following your blog.

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